Does the word “networking” give you low-key anxiety? Do you break out in a cold sweat as you walk up to a group of people at a networking event or hit send on a “can we talk” direct message? Networking can be difficult, especially during a job search. However, how many times have you heard that in a job search, success can come down to the people you know? In fact, a survey conducted by Performance-based Hiring Learning Systems and LinkedIn found that “85% of critical jobs are filled via networking of some sort.”
In the era of COVID, all of our networking opportunities moved online. As the COVID climate changes, Smart recruiters and job seekers are still finding ways to connect through digital platforms. We predict that even when and if in-person events and meetings start again, the online opportunities will not go away.
We’ve adapted to the proverbial “You’re on mute” and “I love your background” conversations because we appreciate the efficiency and ease of Virtual Networking.
For many of us, the online venue makes it a little bit easier to connect when networking. For some, it feels like a real barrier. Either way, networking online during a job search is important. As the global job market moves to more remote work, it becomes even more critical to be consistently active online in professional networks when searching for a job.
In this article, we are outlining some of the best digital platforms for networking during your job search. Let’s dive right in!
1. Utilize Social Media
If you do not have a profile on LinkedIn, stop what you are doing and create one. This is critical. LinkedIn is the most known and used digital platform for business. It’s often the first place recruiters go to search for applicants or research current applicants. In a recent LinkedIn survey, 70% of the respondents said they were hired at a company where they had a LinkedIn connection. Our recent blog How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile can help expand your content and boost your visibility!
Once your profile is complete, start searching for connections. Be strategic with who you connect with. It’s a best practice to use LinkedIn for business purposes only. That means you might not want to connect with an ex-boyfriend who is still salty about your breakup or that childhood friend who only posts articles about zombie invasions. Think of LinkedIn as an ongoing networking event. Even when you are not on the platform, your profile is still representing you. You want to send the right message.
You may also find strong business networks on Twitter and Facebook. This can be a little tricky if you’ve been using these channels for personal use. However, they can be very powerful tools to connect with brands and influencers in your sector. Review your current profile and ask yourself, would you show this to a recruiter? If your profile and your activity on Facebook or Twitter would not embarrass your mom, then plan to network there for your job search.
Here are some simple ways to network on any social media channel:
- Search for connections who might be able to get you in the door of that company you’ve always wanted to work at.
- Pro Tip: The alumni search function on LinkedIn can be your most powerful networking tool. Oftentimes, fellow alumni don’t say no when asked for help.
- Pro Tip: Also, try to connect with others who are in your industry, even if you don’t personally know them. Send them a direct message, introducing yourself, explaining why you want to connect, and asking for a meeting.
- Follow thought leaders and hashtags in the tech space and comment on their posts for more visibility.
- Like and share articles regarding your niche and follow up with anyone who comments.
- If you are so inclined, write articles on LinkedIn on a relevant topic using keywords and quotes from people you admire.
- Be sure to share them on your channels!
- Join pertinent groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and engage in the group as often as you can.
- Create a list of tech influencers on Twitter to follow and engage with.
- Definitely join Lady Bird Talent on LinkedIn and Instagram for more tips, trends, and girl power.
All of these activities will not only help you build a strong business connection list, but it will also make your online presence more visible to recruiters searching for possible applicants.
2. Start Using Reddit
You may think Reddit is only for finding answers to the most random questions. But that randomness also means that Reddit can be an excellent source for advice, best practices, and connections.
Here are some great examples of subreddits that might be interesting to you:
- Job information for careers in technology: r/techcareers
- Women in Tech: r/womenintech
- Women in tech, breaking some glass: r/ladiesintech
- Digital Nomads: r/digitalnomad
If you cannot find a community that works for you, create your own! Share the link to your community on other subreddits and with other community members if appropriate.
3. Join Slack Communities
There are hundreds of public Slack communities available for networking and meeting new people. Look for communities dedicated to a sector or function that corresponds to the job you want. There are also communities for certain businesses where you can start a conversation with someone who works there. Here’s a good list of channels to consider. Also, check Standupbly where there is a very large list of tech-related channels. Don’t forget Lady Bird Talent’s Slack community! As always, engage as much as possible and establish meaningful connections before asking for referrals.
4. Attend Webinars and Online conferences
Webinars and online conferences are the go-to solutions for in-person networking events. The ease in planning an online event versus an in-person event has helped to create a packed schedule. You could attend a webinar almost every weekday if you wanted to.
That is good news for job seekers. You have plenty of choices. Choose the webinars and conferences that feature speakers and attendees who can help you with your job search. Find events sponsored by or featuring speakers who are employees of your dream company.
Here are some webinars and conferences to check out:
Once you are on the event platform, engage in both the public and private chats depending on your goal for the connection. Make sure to take notes of the content so that you can confidently talk about the event at any subsequent meetings. If there is a networking “room” at your online conference, take advantage of that and invite attendees to connect there.
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5. Take Online Classes
Professional online courses are not new but in the world of COVID, more people are using them to earn certifications, continuing education credits, and degrees while working remotely. While you are building your resume with education, you can also network quite effectively at a live online class.
General Assembly is a great example. This educational organization offers online classes, workshops, seminars, and on-demand educational opportunities in the tech world. When you take a class, you have access to a Slack channel to interact with your classmates and ask your teacher questions. These connections can be very valuable for your job search. GA is very proud of this perk. Their website claims they have helped over 16,000+ graduates find jobs in tech.
LinkedIn Learning is another great resource for learning and it’s free with a premium subscription. You may also want to check out Google Certifications. Remember, you are never too old or too busy to learn something new.
6. Have You Tried Bumble Bizz?
The dating app Bumble has evolved. There is now a business networking version called Bumble Bizz. The same women-first process is used, which means only women can make the first move to create a connection. You still swipe left to reject and swipe right to approve. Two mutual likes will create a match. From there, it is up to you to initiate a conversation.
This new platform is specifically for business networking, not recruiting. But that doesn’t mean recruiters don’t use Bumble Bizz to find applicants. Nor does it mean you can’t find mentors or other connections who can get you in the door at a company you’ve targeted.
Bumble Bizz has been around since 2017 but it is still relatively unknown. This is a tactic that may take some time for results. But as we transition to a more remote working world and we are less tied to a location, the whole of Bumble Bizz’s list is available to you. Try it out and see what happens.
Online Networking is Here to Stay
Networking is vital to the business world and the job market. Many people find jobs through networking, not to mention sales and business leads. As more companies are going fully remote, the job market is expanding for job seekers in tech. Meanwhile, the online networking pool is also expanding to encompass the globe. Embrace the opportunity, jump in the deep end, and start swimming!